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“Copped a fair bit of heat”: Lions proud of key forward for turning around form slump


Brisbane forward Eric Hipwood overcame “a fair bit of heat” originating from a slow start to the season by booting three goals against North Melbourne, earning the praise of his teammates.

Hipwood, 26, had been under growing pressure in season 2024, with his performance against Collingwood in Round 3 a near career-low in ranking points.

Former Lions captain Dayne Zorko believes some of the criticism would have filtered back to Hipwood, but credited the tall forward for working through his form slump.

Fellow key target Joe Daniher was another who bounced back from a poor showing against the Pies and Zorko revealed what the message to the duo was ahead of Saturday’s win.

“Obviously they copped a fair bit of heat during the week and we put our arms around them last week and just said they’re two very good AFL players, just go out there and express yourself, play footy the right way and I thought they did that and got rewarded with goals,” Zorko told SENQ Breakfast.

“I thought Eric’s start to the game was exceptional, he laid a couple of big tackles and got himself into the game defensively and from that he was able to get scoreboard pressure… I thought Joe was the same, he presented really well at the ball and took some big marks.

“For those two to put their weeks behind them and come out and perform the way they did was a great show of their character.”

The Lions went on to win by 70 points and notch up their first win of the season. Hipwood also had 14 disposals, four marks and seven score assists.

“He definitely played poorly last week, but it was good to see him do that, that will give him some confidence,” Fagan said of Hipwood post-match.

Hipwood had been somewhat emblematic of a slow start to the season in which Brisbane – the reigning Grand Finalists – had struggled to get going in their first three games of 2024.

But Zorko insists it wasn’t for a lack of trying, revealing the work Hipwood does behind the scenes.

“I can’t imagine he would have read too much of it, he’s not really the person that jumps on social media and looks at what’s being said about him… but there’s no doubt it gets to you, from one way or another,” Zorko said of the criticism.


“He handles it really well. He gets on and keeps trying to get to work.

“He spends a lot of time with Murray Davis, our forward line coach, and goes over tapes and works extremely hard in that area.

“After training he’s kicking his goals, he’s doing his extras like he’s supposed to do. It’s not a lack of effort by any stretch of the imagination, he was just in a rough patch and had to find his way out of it.

“Fages and the coaching staff gave him a really simple job this weekend and he went out and executed it really well.”

All eyes now turn to Thursday night and the MCG, where the Lions will travel to play a Melbourne outfit that has strung four wins together.

Brisbane Lions

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